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What Is the Proper Distance Between Studs?

Properly spaced studs are extremely important in wall construction. By not spacing your studs out right, your walls may have several inadequacies. This distance is measured from the center of one stud to the center of the stud next to it.

So, what is the proper distance between studs? The studs in most framed homes are positioned between 16 or 24 inches apart. For some of the more modern homes, the distance between studs can be around 14.5 inches.

Now, the width of each stud for homes built before 1965 is usually 2-inches wide. Homes that were built after 1965 usually have studs with a width of 1.5 inches.

It’s important to know when your home was built, so if you ever want to locate the studs, it’ll be a much easier job. However, if you are unsure when your home was built, then there are several other ways of locating the studs in your walls.

Finding the Distance Between Studs in the Interior Wall

Finding the studs in your interior walls is extremely important when you’re hanging things like a television set, a heavy picture frame, a shelving unit, or a large decoration. The hardware to hold these items need to be drilled into a stud for a secure hold. Simple drywall or thin plywood isn’t strong enough to hold these heavy items.

So, now that you know the standard distance between studs and why locating the studs in your walls is important, the next step is to focus on actually finding the studs. There are many ways you can go about doing this.

First, if the floor isn’t carpeted, you can use your baseboards as a guide. Baseboards are usually attached to studs that are 16-inches apart from one another. Don’t just assume though.

Follow your baseboards to the wall and go directly up. You’ll want to give your wall a little knock directly above the baseboard. If you hear a high pitch sound, then you know you found a stud.

On the other hand, if you hear a low pitch thud, then you need to knock a few inches over to the left or right until you hear a high pitch knock.

Never assume the location of the stud. Always make sure you find it before you start driving in the hardware. The last thing you want is a bunch of useless holes in your walls.

It’s also important to note that knocking on the wall to find the location of a stud isn’t full proof. For your convenience, it’s best to use more than one method to ensure the location of the stud, that is unless you’re using an electric stud finder.

Another way of finding the studs in your walls is to get a strong magnet and run it back and forth along the walls until you feel the magnet attract a nail or screw holding the plywood or drywall to the studs.

As long as you’re using a strong magnet, you should have no problem doing this. It’s recommended that you use hard drive magnets. To find the stud next to it, just measure 16 to 24 inches to either side. If you own a level, you can use it to draw a faint line across the wall with a pencil or a chalk string.

The thing you have to remember though is that this method isn’t full proof either. Some nails are not located perfectly in the middle of the stud. The middle of the stud is where you want to drive in your hardware for your television, shelving unit, picture frame, or another item. Driving in your hardware too close to the edge of the stud could lead to potential problems.

A third way of finding a stud is to locate light switches, outlets, and/or fuse boxes. These are all attached to a stud. Once you find one of these, simply measure over 16 or 24 inches to find the next stud in the wall. If there’s no switches or outlets on this wall, then you’ll have to use a different method.

The last method of finding a stud is to use an electric or digital stud finder. Some people think they’re great and other people simply don’t like them. Although they’re not always accurate, they do work most of the time. However, higher priced stud finders tend to be more accurate than lower priced ones.

The Franklin Sensor is one of the more popular models on the market. This stud finder can detect multiple studs at once and uses LED lights to alert you when the device finds studs. This device can even find a stud deep in the wall. This is just one of many stud finders sold today.

Most stud finders use batteries while others are chargeable. Once your stud finder has batteries in it or is fully charged, simply run it horizontally along your wall smoothly until the device alerts you that one or more studs have been found. It’s that easy.

Now that you know the standard distance between studs, their importance, and how to find them, you should have no issue hanging whatever you want on the wall without having to face the fear of it becoming unhinged and crashing to the ground.

Mike Bailey